As someone who introduces a lot of ideas to the reader at the beginning a story without batting an eye, I never really understand my boundaries of how much is too much. My mother likes to read historical romances and she keeps a sheet of paper nearby to write down all the names and their relationships to each other in order to keep things straight. Although one would think that would be too much she clearly doesn't mind or she wouldn't read the story. Do you have any opinions on the issue? Can a story ever have too much as long as it's clear? Would too many characters cause you to back away in horror? Too many storylines? have you ever given up on a story because there was too much to keep in mind at the beginning of the story? Is it all about presentation? I actually liked the challenge of The Stand. I read both versions ( edited and unedited ) and found it was pretty easy to follow despite the character load but I wonder if part of the ease was that everyone was a lone gunman so to speak, no relatives and family trees to bog things down.